Last week, I ended up in a situation which I haven’t been in for many years. I ended up without my smartphone. I had a phone, in my car, in case of an emergency. However, the phone was our household emergency phone. It looks like this:
This phone is very basic and nothing like the latest Samsung which I now possess. I went out of the house and to work with a great deal of trepidation. I thought that I would be anxious. How would I cope? However, the car journey was surprisingly relaxing. I used to get stressed as it would ping every time I’d get an email or notification on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp or Instagram. However, there were no pings. Instead, I could be mindful and enjoy the journey and all of the magical things that happen first thing in the morning: the fresh air, the countryside on my way to work, beautiful nature.
Usually, during the day I get about fifty emails and ten work-related calls on my phone. However, as nobody had my new number this didn’t happen. I was able to relax and breathe and focus on the here and now and the tasks I had to do. I wasn’t anxious or stressed. I didn’t feel agitated because people couldn’t get hold of me. Instead, I felt uplifted and liberated. I felt free. And if anything important happened, people just found me. But nothing was really that important. Nobody is that indispensable.
As a result of my experiences that day, I have decided to use my phone a lot less. I have become more mindful. My smart phone has an amazing camera, so I use it for that. However, I limit my time on social media, for example, to no more than ten minutes a day, because it does drain you. I put my phone on silent whenever I can, and when I’m out or at work I try to switch the data off so that I can’t access emails. You would think that this would make you less productive. However, it actually has the opposite effect. You are not distracted so are able to concentrate on the task in hand, or pay full attention to the people you are with. Then when you finally do check your emails on your computer, you are able to concentrate on them fully.
I took my daughters to their piano lesson. I had to wait for an hour. Usually during this time I’d use my phone to go on Facebook or play Candy Crush. Today, I decided to read my book. I also spent the last ten minutes cuddling my youngest daughter when she finished her lesson. This was so much more soul-enriching than just checking my phone. There are some habits that are not really that beneficial. Our addiction to smartphones is one of them.